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  • Welcome to the Voice: A work by Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori
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Welcome to the Voice: A work by Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori

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Audio CD, May 15, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An unlikely encounter of a unique project with an all-star cast! Steve Nieve, Elvis Costello's long-time pianist and music director, and Nieve's partner Muriel Teodori, a film/theatre director, began working on Welcome To The Voice ten years ago. She wrote the libretto, he composed the music, and together they developed and shaped the project that is an opera in homage to the human voice. It is a very accessible opera on one CD - one that will interest both the pop and the classical consumer. Welcome To The Voice is a multifaceted opera that welcomes voices from different musical worlds. It lives on the juxtaposition of men who have rough, untrained voices, coming from jazz or rock (Robert Wyatt, Elvis Costello, Sting), with women who have classically trained voices (Barbara Bonney, Amanda Roocroft, Nathalie Manfrino, Sara Fulgoni). The score has been composed for the Brodsky Quartet while Marc Ribot, Ned Rothenberg, and Steve Nieve himself improvise with a jazz feeling. Apart from the music itself, the beauty of this project lies in the profound idealistic - even romantic - themes that transcend all levels of the work. The catchphrase is: 'unlikely encounter'. Seemingly opposing music genres, classes, artists, languages, and codes are unified in the name of love and art. It's no wonder that the project has attracted all the high-profile artists that collaborate in the opera and contribute to the uniqueness of this work.

Amazon.com

Composed by longtime Elvis Costello keyboardist Steve Nieve and set to a surreally episodic, multilingual libretto by his life partner, Muriel Teodori, this singspiel/dramatic oratorio describes the obsessive passion of an opera-loving steelworker of Greek extraction (Sting) for a diva (Barbara Bonney), a not-unheard-of situation in either real or reel life. Although Dionysos (the hero) seems to hover on the edge of becoming a textbook psycho-stalker (the cover photo of a hard-hat kissing his saw does little to dispel this impression), all ends well, if unbelievably. Blue-collar boy not only narrowly avoids incarceration (Elvis Costello appears as a police officer) but even gets next to the ermine-collar girl. Scored for string quartet with piano and reed improvisations, the work's avowed raison d'être was to allow voices from various backgrounds, classically trained and otherwise, to encounter one another on a level playing field. This might have been more successful if the singers were better matched in terms of texture and production. As it is, the sopranos soar effortlessly, allowing the music to do the work, while the male pop stars take the opposite approach, working up a sweat at the drop of an emotion. Musically, despite arresting juxtapositions between conventionally melodic power-pop and 20th-century atonality--to say nothing of a blazing concluding "yes" sung by all involved--the composition comes across more as a study in parallels rather than a unifying force. But even so, the point does get across, and so ambitious and heartfelt an adventure is always worth checking out. --Christina Roden

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Performer: Sting, Barbara Bonney, Elvis Costello, Robert Wyatt, Brodsky Quartet
  • Composer: Steve Nieve, Muriel Teodori
  • Audio CD (May 15, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000MGB3DU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,571 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Salvini Maria Cristina on May 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori spent 10 years on this project. Very well spent time! They had a lot of hard times, obviously it wasn't a simple project. Bringing together great classical and jazz-pop artists to record an "Opera" isn't a thing you can easily do. But for their and our luck they finally succeded. I had to check twice who was singing the first track, 'cause I couldn't believe it was Sting. And notice I love Sting from 1980. The most moving track is number 3, Grand Grand Freedom. It is sung by Robert Wyatt plus Sting and others. I found myself almost in tears from commotion. His fragile voice is so poignant, so evocative you can't remain insensible. And Sting singing "and Mozart" during the Workers song is simply sublime. The story is simple but multi-layed. I strongly recommend it. Just don't expect a simple song's collection, but don't be scared by the idea of a modern Opera. Chapeau to Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori and all the great singers and musicians that realized the recording. I wished there will be a teatrical representation sooner or later!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bruno L. Garzon on January 7, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Well first before I tell you what I thought of the Cd and piece in general I want to tell you how it came about that I was to listen to it. Well I am a huge Opera fan (16yrs old) and my father is a huge Elvis Costello fan (54yrs old). Well it came to pass that I saw this and I had to show it to my dad. At first we were a bit dumbfounded. Where else could you find Barbara Bonney/Amanda Roocroft (2 of my favorite Opera singers by the way) and Elvis Costello in the same piece!!! Well suffice it to say we bought it right away and we have been incredibly happy with the purchase. Now on to the actual piece.
"Welcome to the Voice" is a fusion of rock and opera into one piece. It is in both English and French and every now and then the language will change abruptly. The singing is amazingly good. Neither my dad nor I are fans of Sting but we both HAD to agree that his performance here was exceptionally acted and sung. Barbara Bonney make a wonderful sweet-voiced counterpart as the young Opera singer Sting (a construction worker in the piece)has fallen in love with. Their "unlikely duet" is one of the most touching duets I have ever heard. Robert Wyatt's rather weak tone took a while to get used to (becuase I listen to a lot of Opera, I am not used to the weaker more delicate voices like his) but overall I was very happy with how he sang. My (personal) favorite part of this whole piece was Amanda Roocroft as The Ghost of Norma. Her singing is both haunting and beautiful and her invocation to the other deceased Opera singers-"stop to play with this man"- was a thrilling spectacle of how great her voices and how great the writers and composers of this piece are. My Dad's personal favorite was (of course) Elvis Costello and his brilliant singing as the police officer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. John Foyle on June 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD
In the few weeks I've had the disc I've only heard it in part ; in the background as I worked , reading etc. This evening, for the first time, I played it through in full, no distractions except for occasional glances at the sun setting over the distant Wicklow mountains and trees behind Foyle mansions. Such undivided attention brought in to focus a thoroughly fascinating piece of work. A collection of voices blend with the subtlest of instrumentation to tell a simple story. Once it's accepted that no hugely groundbreaking piece of social commentary is part of the package ( I mean that as a compliment) it is possible to get totally lost in it.

Earlier 'distracted' listening had me thinking Elvis Costello's contribution was too loud and just not right. However it's with his abrasive introduction from track 10 - 'Troublemaker' ( such an apt title!) - onwards that the show really kicks into gear. He is the 'grit' that contrasts so tellingly with the artfulness of the other contributors. It leads into a six track sequence that, in it's build up of emotion, is stunning.

Robert Wyatt is the star of the show. All the others are excellent but it's contribution that keeps popping up in my memories , especially 'Happiness'.

In short this is a album that has to be listened to in full to get it's proper effect. None of your in-ear , train/car journey etc. background listening ; in a room , on speakers , loud. It's a circumstance that can be a bit of luxury in the frantic pace of life but , in this case, well worth the effort. Sympathetically produced, it would make a great stage-show. Well done, one and all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Lundy on July 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a fabulous piece of work. What a wonderful idea to bring in Sting, etc. If you like different on a Sunday afternoon with the New York Times, this is it.
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